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  Acoustic at Olympic Studios  
  Asobi Seksu  
  One Little Indian  
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It should be no secret to loyal EvilSponge readers (yes, all five of you!) that Asobi Seksu is a favorite here at the ES HQ. Last year, after wrapping up the recording on their third record, Hush, but before heading out on tour, core members Yuki Chikudate and James Hanna chose to play around and rework some of their material by going into Olympic Studios and recording a set of acoustic numbers from throughout their career. They released this recording on a CD which they have been selling on tour. I was lucky enough to snag one when they swung through Atlanta last time, and i just can't stop listening to this.

Hush, is a complex record, with lots of layers and melodies more complex than what Asobi Seksu have used on their previous two records, which were basically shoegazer discs. Hush transcends that label in a way that is not as instantly gratifying, but which bears up to repeated listen. This, then, is the complement to that record. It shows Asobi Seksu as a mature band with a lot of experience, stripped down and simply playing with sound. In many ways, this reminds me a lot of Cocteau Twins' Twinlights EP. This is a similar sort of experiment, and, in my mind, a similar success.

Take the layers of swirling sound away from them, and Asobi Seksu are, at heart, a pop band writing wistful love tunes. Here, Walk On the Moon from their first record is slowed down and made into an aching song of longing. Chikudate's voice soars in layers as Hanna strums laconically. Simply beautiful.

In direct contrast is New Years, from Citrus. Chikudate plays xylophone here, making a strong tinking sound aside Hanna's strumming, all backed with a nice tambourine beat. The song still sounds energetic, just in a different way than the other version.

Also included is a cover of the song Suzanne, from the first Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions record. This is a lovely little song, which Asobi Seksu compliment with some string sounds and a faint flute. I am not all that familiar with the original, but here it is lovely.

Of the songs from Hush, i think it is Gliss that comes across best in this format. Again Chikudate is on the xylophone (or maybe that is a toy piano), but here Hanna adds some backing vocals, something the band rarely does, but which i find i really enjoy.

There are ten songs here, in about 35 minutes. I find all of it worthwhile, and have listened to this record a lot this summer. Asobi Seksu fans will need to track down a copy, and anyone who enjoys light, wistful pop will want to hear it as well. Asobi Seksu continue to impress.

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Also on EvilSponge:
     Concert: Mon.8.Nov.04
     Album: Asobi Seksu
     Concert:  Mon.14.Feb.05
     Festival Performance: South by SouthWest 2005 - Day 1
     Concert: Thu.19.Oct.06
     7": Stay Awake b/w Then He Kissed Me
     7": Me and Mary b/w Breathe Into Glass
     Album: Hush


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